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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: A tip about tips: When and where should you tip?

Makenzie Miller

Due to trending TikTok and Instagram videos, I have noticed an increase in international visitors confused by the tipping culture in America. With this, jokes about the dreaded “question” when you get to a spin-around iPad: “It’s going to ask you a question.” The question being, “Do you want to tip 15%, 20% or 25%?”

With tipping, the U.S. has forced people to work as hard as they can for as long as they can to afford living. In the 1960s, the U.S. Congress passed The Tip Credit Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows companies and businesses to pay their employees under minimum wage if they earn tips.

The set up forces us to either rely on under minimum wage and the courtesy of others or make tipping feel mandatory.

Although tipping sucks, it is counterproductive to protest this system by not tipping the people who depend on that money for bills and loved ones.

Tipping has spread from restaurant servers to the people at your car wash who just wave you in. It has welcomed its way into your coffee shops. Delivery drivers hope for change, and dog groomers have a jar available next to the register.

When does it end? Where should you tip, and when should you not?

One of my easiest answers is that you should tip servers. If you go to a restaurant and sit down at a table or at the bar, those taking your order and making your drinks deserve a tip. Not only do they typically get around $2 in their hourly rate, but their entire earnings for the night depend on whether or not you are feeling generous or you can afford to help them with their bills.

These employees take your order, serve you, and sometimes even make your drinks and wash your dishes. They refill your drinks, give you food, and listen to your needs. At the very least, 20% is a good tip. $2 for every $10 spent is also a good rule for those who do not have the screen in front of them to do the math.

If I personally serve your table and you have drinks on drinks and multiple rounds of food, even if it is an appetizer and the main meal, I should be getting a decent tip. If the food is messed up, I understand it is frustrating, but it could have been the cook who made a mistake while making the food. There could have been a switch-up. It sucks, but do not avoid a tip altogether.

This being said, in typical casual restaurants, servers are paid the most in the establishments through their collected tips, not through hourly. If there is an opportunity to tip the cooks of the establishment, take the chance to show them your gratitude.

When interviewing for a restaurant position, it is common for the person in charge of hiring to mention the low hourly wage, but fluff up how much you can make in tips to make the job seem more desirable, unlike mainstream coffee shops.

A tip is not required every time you purchase a coffee. I know it is difficult when they are smiling at you and waiting for you to choose an amount, but you do not need to do that for them every day. When you are a regular customer, it is acceptable to tip every few visits. The baristas at your local coffee shops are generally paid a decent hourly amount, and tips are their reward if you feel they have offered exceptional service.

A manager of any kind does not need a tip. In fact, do not tip the managers. They have a higher hourly rate that they are usually able to live off of. They have more benefits than their employees do. They do not need that type of reward.

Anyone at a retail store does not need a tip. As someone who used to be a cashier, I was paid a low hourly rate, maybe not the best, but enough for a 16-year-old. I do not need a tip for scanning your items and putting them in your bag. On the East Coast, I have seen people who bag groceries as their job. They do not get a high rate, and tipping them is generous.

Tipping is a kind gesture to show appreciation for people who serve you for their job and for a period of time. Generally, you do not have to cough up a tip at coffee shops every time you treat yourself or when visiting a typical retail store.

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About the Contributors
Piper Pinnetti
Piper Pinnetti, Reporter
Piper Pinnetti is a reporter for The Sunflower. Pinnetti previously designed content for The Sunflower's Instagram. Pinnetti is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism with the hopes of pursuing a career in writing. Pinnetti uses she/her pronouns.
Makenzie Miller
Makenzie Miller, Illustrator/Designer
Makenzie Miller is an animation major and a first-year illustrator on The Sunflower. She is from Eureka, Kansas, and enjoys not only art but also cartoons, video games, softball, and literally any type of animal. She hopes to one day be a storyboarder/concept artist for an animation company.

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